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Profile: Dennis Whitcomb (Western Washington University)
  1. Kelby Mason, Daniel Kelly & Dennis Whitcomb, Intentionality - Naturalization Of.
    States that are about things are intentional, that is, they have content. The precise nature of intentional states is a matter of dispute.What makes some states, but not others, intentional? Of those states that are intentional, what makes them about what they are about as opposed to something else, i.e. what gives them their specific content?
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  2. Dennis Whitcomb (forthcoming). Can There Be a Knowledge-First Ethics of Belief? In Jonathan Matheson & Rico Vits (eds.), The Ethics of Belief: Individual and Social. Oxford University Press.
    This article critically examines numerous attempts to build a knowledge-first ethics of belief.
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  3. Dennis Whitcomb (forthcoming). Grounding and Omniscience. In Jon Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Vol. 4. OUP.
    I’m going to argue that omniscience is impossible and therefore that there is no God. The argument turns on the notion of grounding. After illustrating and clarifying that notion, I’ll start the argument in earnest. The first step will be to lay out five claims, one of which is the claim that there is an omniscient being, and the other four of which are claims about grounding. I’ll prove that these five claims are jointly inconsistent. Then I’ll argue for the (...)
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  4. Dennis Whitcomb (2013). One Wage of Unknowability. Synthese 190 (3):339-352.
    Suppose for reductio that I know a proposition of the form p and I don’t know p . Then by the factivity of knowledge and the distribution of knowledge over conjunction, I both know and do not know p ; which is impossible. Propositions of the form p and I don’t know p are therefore unknowable. Their particular kind of unknowability has been widely discussed and applied to such issues as the realism debate. It hasn’t been much applied to theories (...)
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  5. Dennis Whitcomb (2012). Epistemic Value. In Andrew Cullison (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Epistemology. Continuum. 270-287.
    Epistemology is normative. This normativity has been widely recognized for a long time, but it has recently come into direct focus as a central topic of discussion. The result is a recent and large turn towards focusing on epistemic value. I’ll start by describing some of the history and motivations of this recent value turn. Then I’ll categorize the work within the value turn into three strands, and I’ll discuss the main writings in those strands. Finally, I’ll explore some themes (...)
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  6. Ryan Wasserman & Dennis Whitcomb (2011). The Paradox of the Question. Philosophical Studies 154 (1):149-159.
    What is the best question to ask an omniscient being? The question is intriguing; is it also paradoxical? We discuss several versions of what Ned Markosian calls the paradox of the question and suggest solutions to each of those puzzles. We then offer some practical advice about what do if you ever have the opportunity to query an omniscient being.
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  7. Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.) (2010/2011). Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press.
    This volume will be of great interest to scholars and students in epistemology.
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  8. Dennis Whitcomb (2010). Curiosity Was Framed. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):664-687.
    This paper explores the nature of curiosity from an epistemological point of view. First it motivates this exploration by explaining why epistemologists do and should care about what curiosity is. Then it surveys the relevant literature and develops a particular approach.
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  9. Dennis Whitcomb (2010). Wisdom. In Sven Bernecker & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology.
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  10. Dennis Whitcomb (2010). Wisdom Bibliography. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
    Recent philosophy features remarkably little work on the nature of wisdom. The following is a bibliography of that work, or at least the important-seeming parts of it that I’ve managed to uncover. I’ve also included some work from the history of philosophy, and from a few neighboring fields. Suggested additions would be very appreciated.
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  11. Daniel Kelly, Kelby Mason & Dennis Whitcomb (2008). Intentionality - Naturalization Of. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience.
    Some mental states are about things. For instance, the belief that the cat is white is about the cat. States that are about things are intentional, that is, they have content. The precise nature of intentional states is a matter of dispute.What makes some states, but not others, intentional? Of those states that are intentional, what makes them about what they are about as opposed to something else, i.e. what gives them their specific content?
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  12. Dennis Whitcomb (2008). Factivity Without Safety. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):143-149.
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  13. Dennis Whitcomb (2008). Review of Vincent F. Hendricks, Duncan Pritchard (Eds.), New Waves in Epistemology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6).
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  14. Dennis Whitcomb (2008). Williamson on Justification. Philosophical Studies 138 (2):161 - 168.
    Timothy Williamson has a marvelously precise account of epistemic justification in terms of knowledge and probability. I argue that the account runs aground on certain cases involving the probability values 0 and 1.
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  15. Dennis Whitcomb, An Epistemic Value Theory.
    For any normative domain, we can theorize about what is good in that domain. Such theories include utilitarianism, a view about what is good morally. But there are many domains other than the moral; these include the prudential, the aesthetic, and the intellectual or epistemic. In this last domain, it is good to be knowledgeable and bad to ignore evidence, quite apart from the morality, prudence, and aesthetics of these things. This dissertation builds a theory that stands to the epistemic (...)
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  16. Dennis Whitcomb, Kitcher, Correspondence, and Success.
    Concerned that deflationary theories of truth threaten his scientific realism, Philip Kitcher has constructed an argument that scientific success establishes not only the truth of crucial scientific beliefs but also their *correspondence* truth. This paper interprets and evaluates Kitcher’s argument, ultimately finding it to be both unsound and unmotivated.
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  17. Dennis Whitcomb, Wisdom: A Selective Annotated Bibliography.
    The word “philosophy” stems from “philo” and “sophia”, Greek terms often translated as “love” and “wisdom” respectively. Yet there is very little contemporary philosophical work on wisdom. There is plenty of historical work on the matter, and as it happens, there is a large body of work on wisdom in contemporary cognitive psychology. As far as contemporary philosophy goes, the work on wisdom is confined mainly to ethicists and epistemologists attempting to broaden their domains of theorizing. Interestingly, this work is (...)
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